Shirataki – Healthy Pasta Substitute

Mar 28, 2006

The Bottom Line The Writer's Corner is nice. Shirataki Noodles are a great, healthy, pasta substitute.

Pasta - I love it! It’s a quick, filling meal, and there are so many ways to prepare it, but I feel guilty eating pasta. It is high in carbs, somewhat fattening, and not the best protein packed meal that I can prepare. Recently, when my husband mentioned some newfangled sort of tofu pasta, I was intrigued.

Like many Americans, I’m fighting an expanding waist line. I would like to lose about 25 pounds, but I love to eat, and I want to enjoy filling and tasty meals. Pasta is filling and tasty but not friendly to my waistline. Enter Shirataki!

Shirataki noodles are made from tofu and yam flour. I’ll admit that this description is not likely to start you salivating, but keep an open mind. A serving of Shirataki noodles is just 20 calories, has practically no fat (0.05 grams), 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber. They are made from filtered water, tofu, yam flour and calcium hydroxide. What does that mean? It means that a large bowl of noodles won’t “blow” your diet. It means that if you are diabetic or on a carbohydrate restricted diet, you can still enjoy pasta. It means that if you have allergies or sensitivity to wheat glutton or eggs, you have a healthy pasta substitute!

All this is very exciting, but how does Shirataki taste? Honestly – it tastes good. It is not the Italian pasta that you’re used to, but it is enjoyable and satisfying. Like other tofu products, Shirataki noodles take on the taste of the foods that you cook it with. You can prepare Shirataki Italian style with sauce, with stir fry, soup, or in casseroles, and it will blend with the flavors of the other ingredients.

I purchased House Brand Shirataki. The noodles are packaged wet in a pouch. When you open the pouch there will be a slight tofu smell, but don’t let that turn you off. Simply rinse the noodles well before cooking, and the smell will wash away. Then parboil the noodles for 2 minutes and prepare them as you like. Hubby and I prepared ours with sautéed mushrooms and spaghetti sauce, and we both enjoyed it very much.

The packaging describes the noodles as “gelatinous” – I suggest the company find a new copy writer. “Gelatinous” suggests gummy, gooey, disgusting noodles. Shirataki are somewhat more slippery than pasta, but they have some substance. You can bite into the noodles and they have some heartiness to them.

When shopping for Shirataki, I found that many of my local supermarkets and health food stores do not yet carry it. I have read that many large chains are planning to stock them, so check stores in your area for availability. I ended up ordering Shirataki online from They are available from various on-line retailers. There are also several brands available. As I stated, I purchased House brand, which seems to be most highly rated in the articles that I have read.

I highly recommend Shirataki noodles to anyone looking for quick and healthy meal options. They are easy to prepare, healthy, diet-friendly and tasty. Don’t tell the kids that they’re healthy, and I’ll bet you’ll have a new family dinner favorite!

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